The past week has been a rough one. Eli has been sick, like, miserably sick. As soon as he seemed like he was turning a corner, he would make a u-turn and get sicker instead. He got to enjoy his first ER visit on Wednesday followed by a pediatrician visit yesterday and is now on antibiotics for the first time. He’s also about this close to cutting a tooth. Two actually, but one is closer than the other, it seems.
And that paragraph about covers my entire week. Well, that and we went to the zoo. But otherwise, that is literally everything that happened.
I love being this child’s mother so very much. I love that right now our finances and my job give me the flexibility to be home with my sick child. I don’t for a moment want to sound ungrateful for that. And I do not mean to complain about him being sick, though I know I have done my share of that. I wouldn’t exchange anything for the ability to be home with my child when he is unwell. Or the rest of the time, for that matter.
But I find that something feels off in my life. And maybe it’s just because he has needed so much more attention this week and I have had little time for anything else. Or maybe it’s because I’m not working much right now (I work Friday and then not at all until January, not by choice, but by lack of people taking vacation time). But I’m feeling like somewhere along the line, I’ve lost myself.
I was reading through my own twitter stream tonight, at the suggestion of the internet, to assess how much I’d been bitching about my child being sick (verdict: a lot. My bad.) and I noticed something. Every tweet is about him. Obviously it’s not the greatest assessment of my life since I do occasionally do things that I do not document on twitter, but Facebook is similar, my text messages are similar. I don’t see anything related to me anywhere. Thinking back upon recent days, I can’t remember the last time I did something I wanted to do, or something that was just fun for me.
I’m trying to remember who I am in all of this. I think I’ve just always been embedded in projects. First it was teaching and getting into grad school. Then it was grad school. Now it’s motherhood. I get so engrossed in these activities that they come to completely define me. And it was a seamless transition from grad school to motherhood, what with the conclusion of one and the start of another happening on the same day. But I’m left wondering what’s left of me.
I no longer seem to have hobbies. Nap time is pumping time or cleaning time or nap time for me too. Eli’s bed time is much the same, as well as alone time with my husband. I am trying to remember what I used to do before Eli. I used to read. I used to bake. I used to be passionate about politics. I used to be into exercise and cooking. Now I am into my baby.
It’s not that that’s not a good thing. It’s not that I don’t love being his mother, because I do, with every single fiber of my being. I want to be clear about this, because some day if he reads these words, I want him to know that I truly love spending time with him. That I love watching him learn new things and grow and change. That he brings me immeasurable joy each and every day.
But I also want his mother to have a personality, an identity outside of him, because I don’t think this is healthy for either of us. I don’t want to just be Elijah’s mom, I also want to be Katie.
I just don’t yet know where to start to rediscover myself.